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Increasing Digital Content Accessibility for Retail Marketing Success

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A catalog illustration with various content accessibility related icons such as a braille icon, a hearing device, and audio as screen reader.

Digital transformation is not just a trend but a necessity to keep up in a highly competitive retail industry. As consumers increasingly turn to online platforms for their shopping needs, retailers must ensure their digital content is accessible to everyone. But what does content accessibility mean in this context, and why should it matter to marketing teams? Let’s delve into the significance of accessible digital content, specifically digital catalogs, how to create better accessible content, its benefits, and compliance’s importance.

What accessibility means

Accessibility in the digital realm refers to designing and developing content everyone can use, including individuals with disabilities. This includes considerations for people with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor impairments. Accessible digital content ensures that all users can navigate, understand, and interact with the information provided regardless of their abilities.

According to the WHO’s latest data, 1 in 6 people live with some form of disability.

With this being 16% of the population, ensuring that such a large audience has the same rights and opportunities as everyone else is essential.

Why content accessibility matters for retailers

For retailers, the importance of accessibility cannot be overstated. Here’s why:

1. Inclusivity and reach: By making your digital content accessible, you open your doors to a broader audience. With 16% of the global population living with some form of disability. Excluding this group may cause you to miss out on a significant market segment.

2. Legal compliance: In many countries, there are legal requirements for digital accessibility. Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits, fines, and damage to your brand’s reputation. Europe has the European Accessibility Act (EAA); in the United States, organizations have to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the most relevant guidelines for web content are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

3. Brand image and customer loyalty: Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility can enhance your brand’s image as inclusive and socially responsible. This can foster customer loyalty and attract a more diverse clientele.

4. Enhanced user experience: Accessible content improves the overall user experience. Features that aid accessibility, such as straightforward navigation and readable text, benefit all users, not just those with disabilities. This can lead to higher engagement and customer satisfaction.

How to make digital content accessible

Creating accessible digital content involves several best practices and considerations:

1. Use clear and simple language: Make the text easy to read and understand, avoiding jargon and complex sentences.

2. Provide text alternatives: Provide text alternatives for non-text content like images, videos, and gifs. This includes alt text for images and transcripts for videos.

3. Ensure keyboard accessibility: Users should be able to navigate your content using only a keyboard. This involves ensuring that all interactive elements are reachable and usable without a mouse.

4. Incorporate ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) landmarks: ARIA landmarks help screen readers and other assistive technologies understand the structure and content of your digital content.

5. Responsive design: Ensure your content is responsive and easily viewed on various devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

6. Color contrast and text size: Use high-contrast color schemes and adjustable text sizes to accommodate users with visual impairments.

What types of content should be made accessible

Retail marketing teams need to ensure a variety of content types are accessible to all users. This includes product descriptions, images, videos, and interactive elements. For example, product descriptions should be written in clear, simple language and provide detailed information about the item, including size, color, and material, to help all users make informed purchasing decisions. Images should include descriptive alt text to convey the visual information to users who rely on screen readers. Videos must have captions and transcripts to ensure that users with hearing impairments can understand the content.

Interactive elements, such as buttons and links, should be clearly labeled and easily navigable using a keyboard. This ensures that users with motor impairments can easily interact with your content. Additionally, any downloadable content, such as brochures or manuals, should be created in an accessible format, allowing screen readers to interpret the text accurately. By making these types of content accessible, retail marketing teams can ensure that content is inclusive and user-friendly for everyone.

Building an accessible digital catalog in Publitas

Accessible digital catalogs provide a range of significant benefits. Firstly, they enhance the user experience by ensuring that all users can navigate and interact with the content, regardless of their abilities. This inclusivity leads to a broader market reach, allowing retailers to tap into a segment many competitors may overlook. Additionally, accessibility features often improve SEO performance, as search engines favor well-structured and easy-to-navigate content. This results in increased organic traffic. 

Moreover, being known as a brand that prioritizes inclusivity can significantly boost your public image and customer trust. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility fosters a positive brand image and can attract more loyal customers who appreciate the effort to accommodate everyone. Furthermore, adhering to accessibility standards protects your company from potential legal actions related to non-compliance, providing peace of mind and safeguarding your reputation.

At Publitas, we are committed to ensuring that digital catalogs created via our platform are accessible to everyone. We implement various accessibility features, such as providing text alternatives for non-text content, ensuring keyboard accessibility, and incorporating ARIA landmarks to assist with navigation. We’ve designed our catalog software to create digital catalogs with responsive layouts, high-contrast color schemes, and adjustable text sizes to cater to visually impaired users. By prioritizing these features, Publitas ensures that your digital catalogs comply with legal standards and offer an inclusive and enhanced user experience for all.

Digital catalogs created via the Publitas platform comply with: 

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Accessible Canada Act (ACA)
  • European Accessibility Act (EAA)
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Conclusion

In the competitive retail landscape, ensuring that your digital content is accessible to everybody is not just about compliance; it’s about reaching a wider audience, improving the user experience, and fostering an inclusive brand image. By prioritizing accessibility, you not only adhere to legal standards but also unlock numerous business benefits and set yourself apart from competitors.

Investing in accessible digital catalogs is an investment in your brand’s future success and inclusivity. Start today and make your digital content accessible to everyone.